Wichita State Shockers

Landry Shamet returns to Wichita, says ‘I wouldn’t be an NBA player’ without WSU

Fresh off his debut NBA season that saw him garner second-team all-rookie honors, Landry Shamet was back in Wichita on Tuesday to help promote his youth basketball camp in June.

Over lunch at Chicken N Pickle, where the former Wichita State star and Kansas City native will host a fan Q&A session on June 20 from 6-8 p.m., Shamet talked to The Eagle about his ultra-successful season in the NBA and why it was important to him to host a camp in Wichita.

Shamet just wrapped up a successful rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers, which drafted him No. 26 overall last June, and the Los Angeles Clippers, who traded for him in February. Shamet averaged 9.1 points and made 42% of his three-pointers, leading all NBA rookies with the fourth-most three-pointers made by a rookie in NBA history.

“It’s always cool coming back to where you know you grew a little bit,” Shamet said. “I wouldn’t be an NBA player if I stayed in Kansas City my whole life. I came here and got to play for Coach (Gregg) Marshall and play in front of these people and this city and that spring-boarded me to where I’m at now.”

Tuesday’s trip to Wichita, which included a stop by Koch Arena to see Marshall, was the first time Shamet returned since leaving Wichita State last March after declaring for the NBA Draft following his redshirt sophomore season. Shamet led WSU to 25 wins in the 2017-18 and led the Shockers in scoring (14.9) and assists (5.2).

In his first year in the NBA, Shamet experienced the exhilaration of betting on himself by leaving early and being drafted in the first round, earning a spot in the rotation for a title contender, then being blindsided by a trade in the middle of the season.

“I learned really fast about what the business side of the NBA was like,” Shamet said. “I’m glad in hindsight it did all happen when it did this early in my career. Moving forward I don’t feel like there’s anything that’s going to hit me that I don’t know how to handle.

“I was figuring out what life was like in the NBA and how I was going to make it and survive, then in the middle of me finding my groove my life gets turned on its head. I’m going to move across the country in the middle of the night. It was crazy. Having that tornado of emotions going on and everything happening so quickly, I think it will be easy now to handle whatever else comes.”

If anything, Shamet thrived even more given an expanded role in Los Angeles. He started 23 of 25 games with the Clippers, which surprised those around the league by securing a spot in the NBA playoffs.

That’s when Shamet delivered on the biggest stage, as it was his three-pointer with 16 seconds left in Game 2 of a first-round series against the Golden State Warriors that highlighted the biggest comeback in NBA playoff history, as the Clippers erased a 31-point deficit to win 135-131 at Oracle Arena on April 15. The next day, the Clippers’ front office had enlarged a picture of the shot and framed it for Shamet.

“It was better being on the road because of the reaction,” Shamet said, grinning. “You can hear it and feel the energy get sucked out of the arena. I like moments like that when you’re on the road more and you can feel it in the arena. It was a really cool memory.”

Although the Clippers lost the series to the Warriors, many expected the two-time defending champions to roll through with a sweep. The series lasted six games, the same amount as the Houston Rockets took the Warriors and two more games than the Portland Trail Blazers lasted in the Western Conference Finals.

The whole season was surreal in a way for Shamet, who went from guiding the Shockers in their first season in the American Athletic Conference to defending Klay Thompson and Steph Curry in the NBA playoffs in the span of one year.

Playing for the 48-win Clippers was an experience Shamet loved, as he saw similarities between how the Clippers thrived being the underdog to how Marshall has built his powerhouse at WSU.

“It was one of the best team atmospheres that I’ve been a part of, from top to bottom, the front office, the coaches, the staff, every player, it was a college-esque type of feel,” Shamet said. “We all liked each other. We would go to dinner and hang out and talk and sit in the locker room for way too long after practice. It was cool to have that feel and have no egos and everybody just cared about what was best for all of us.”

Now Shamet wants to use the platform he has being an NBA player to inspire youth from his hometown of Kansas City and also the city where he took his next step, Wichita.

The Landry Shamet Basketball Camp will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m on June 20 and 21 at Wichita Hoops. The cost of $100 will get each camper a T-shirt, lunch both days and a picture and autograph with Shamet. Campers can sign up at landryshametbasketballcamps2019.com.

According to Shamet, the majority of the proceeds will be donated to the charity of his choice: Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas.

“I feel like it’s important to capitalize on the platform you have and being a good role model,” Shamet said. “I’ve always wanted to give back to the kids and impact lives at a young age, that’s always been important to me. I’m excited to have the opportunity to be around kids and help a great charity that supports youth and growing kids who might need role models and good influences in their lives.”

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